The Happy Cottage

Small Garden Inspiration

This blog was started in Jan. 2017 on a cold bright winter day in my 1945 cottage home in Durham, NC.  Photos of the Spring 2016 garden inspired me. Winter is after all, the perfect time for gardeners to daydream of Spring. Please join me for real world small garden inspiration interspersed with lifestyle.  

Visit the "Butterfly Compendium" to see a catalog of pollinators in the garden and host plant information.  View this and other favorites in the Featured Post section of the blog.

Gardening/lifestyle ethos at The Happy Cottage: support Mother Earth and yourself by being as natural as possible. Avoid the use of synthetic chemicals and weed instead of spray. Include host and nectar plants for pollinators. Favorite garden medium: organic mushroom compost. It's the soil that mushrooms were grown in. Full disclosure:  We do use biological mosquito dunks.

My gardening style has evolved over twenty years to include scent, food for pollinators, butterflies, birds and shelter for small creatures.  A multi-dimensional garden will bring you years of enjoyment!





Double Duty Plants for Flowers and Fall Foliage

I never realized how many plants known for their flowers also provide us with beautiful autumn color. We've had a long mild autumn this year. Here's a list of a few plants that I selected for blooms which also provide autumn color: Crape Myrtles, Dogwoods, Solomon's Seal, Spice Bush (viburnum), Forsythia, Beauty Berry, Hydrangea and Solomon's Seal to name a few. Consider this when planting to extend your garden enjoyment. The forsythia is starting its yellow show against the Japanese Maple. I took this photo of the potted White Hydrangea against the table cloth to highlight it's intense color. The older blossoms are wine colored. You can make out a new white bud in the front of the bush.

Life in the Garden Mid November

The Piedmont in North Carolina typically enjoys a mild autumn. This year is no exception. It even brought out a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly. We have seen the occasional Painted Lady butterfly as well. Most of the autumn leaves will have fallen by Thanksgiving. I am observing new growth on many plants while I mulch the gardens for winter. The chervil in the herb bed is popping up, buds for late Winter/early Spring are forming. The dogwoods and the ligustrums have berries. We have two very large ligustrums in the back yard. They came with the house. Each year the Cedar Waxwings stop by for the berries. Yes, they are definitely invasive. I spend time pulling up their progeny througho

Moody Blues Pink Veronica

I love the cottage charm of veronicas though they don't bloom for a very long time in my garden. I purchased a new variety this summer because 1) it's pink 2) it supposedly blooms until frost. I've waited to see if the latter is true. Indeed it is. Pollinators are attracted to the blossoms, but it's not as popular with them as the Black and Blue Sage. This plant was introduced in 2014 by Star Roses and Plants. Note that the photo on their web site has a small bumble bee on one of the veronicas. Moody Blues Pink Veronica Nov. 16, 2017 Keeping these in the pot has made it easier to water these frequently. I normally have a hard time with veronicas in the garden bed when we hit our heat

Durham, NC in Pastel?

Attention urban hipsters! I like Durham's industrial theme, but a little softness is also appreciated, especially in my home. I attended an open house at Vintage South recently and found an abstract representation of Durham. I'm so pleased! Pinks, blues, and green with touches of gold for my 1945 cottage home. The artist is Berkley Wooten who lives in Burlington. My sister, Annette was the catalyst for this day out, but she left with only Big Bundt's cake balls (they are delicious) and let me do the real shopping. AAARGH! Maybe Durham is getting softer. I just thought of the new restaurant on Main St., It's a Southern Thing. They have beautiful pale pink pillows incorporated i

Searching for Purple Foliage?

I have plenty of green in my yard, but not enough purple foliage. I tried Chinese Fringe tree (bush) or loropetalum a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, it didn't make it. This was partially my fault. It was planted in summer in a dry spot. I stumbled upon a dwarf crape myrtle named Midnight Magic at Home Depot a few weeks ago. I delayed purchasing this plant, but finally decided it was worth trying. The real issue was siting. I have found a home for the crape myrtle in the front garden beside the big white butterfly bush. This bush maxes out at 4 to 6 feet in height and width. The blooms are what I call hot pink. Midnight Magic Crape Myrtle The Heavenly Blue morning glories on

Flora and Fauna Spring/Summer 2017

Each year has highlights and variances from the prior year. These are a few observations from the 2017 growing season. - Where were the buckeye butterflies? They have been plentiful in years past. - The most common butterfly in the yard was the American Painted Lady. (I hate to use the word common for such a beauty.) -Spring came early this year, but did it have a negative impact on the English Bluebells? They came up, but didn't have their usual vigor. See the blog cover photo in Spring 2016 when they were spectacular. -We had a gentle summer this year. There was no string of days over 100 degrees and rainfall was plentiful. The abnormally dry period started in September. I believe t